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Trafficking endangered animals worries UN

Pangolins

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says there is high pressure on Nigerian wildlife, where pangolins, forest elephants and other endangered species, are traded both domestically and internationally.

It says the country’s deforestation has also led to a further decrease in endangered animals.

There appears to be geographic consolidation of trafficking routes across several markets, with Nigeria emerging as a key source/transit country for many shipments of protected species and products.

According to a report of the CITES, Elephant Trade Information System to COP17, Nigeria is the second most prominent ivory exporting country of West Africa, functioning as a major hub that draws in the ‘product’ from Central and East Africa.

UNODC’s World Wildlife Crime Report (WWCR) 2020, found that, in 2019 alone, at least 51 tons of pangolin scales seized globally originated from Nigerian ports, compared to only 2 tons in 2015.

The January 2021 seizure at the Apapa Ports by the Nigeria Customs Service of 20 feet container containing the remains of various endangered species further highlights and buttresses these findings in the WWCR 2020. The container included 2,772 pieces of elephant tusks, 162 sacks of pangolin scales, 5kg of rhino horns, dried and fresh animal bones; 103 kg of skulls suspected to be of lions and other wild cat; and 76 pieces of timber (semi-processed and processed).

Strategies for Nigeria’s wildlife

UNODC in partnership with the Nigerian government is undertaking a series of activities to facilitate corruption risk assessments and the development of corresponding corruption risk mitigation strategies for Nigeria’s wildlife and forest sectors, Communications Associate. Olivia Ogechi Okorondu said.

This intervention, funded by the European Union through the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) will support both the wildlife and forest sectors in the country.

The first phase of the CRA will focus on the wildlife sector and, in particular, the Nigeria Customs Service and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), as the two main agencies with a mandate to counter illegal wildlife trade in Nigeria.

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